Oxpens River Bridge

Overview

The Oxpens River Bridge will create a new walking and cycle link between Oxpens, Osney Mead and Grandpont.

The West End and Osney Mead area of Oxford city centre lies between Osney Mead to the west and Oxford Train Station to the north, Oxford Ice Rink to the south, and St. Aldates to the east.

The area is set to undergo a once-in-a-generation transformation over the coming years, with projects including:

  • Network Rail’s redevelopment of Oxford Train Station to create new tracks and provide better east-to-west routes
  • The OxWed partnership’s redevelopment of Oxpens, in land between the train station and ice rink, to create a range of new, innovative business units, together with 400 new homes
  • Nuffield College’s redevelopment of the ‘island’ of buildings between Park End Street, Hythe Bridge Street and Worcester Street

The West End redevelopment also aims to improve links to the University of Oxford’s redevelopment of Osney Mead industrial estate, including creating a new foot and cycle bridge between Oxpens and Grandpont.

The bridge will also connect homes in south Oxford with the West End of the city centre, including the new employment sites and Oxford Train Station.

Location

Sustainability

Sustainability Aims:

  • We are committed to addressing the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in everything we design.
  • The greatest opportunity to reduce carbon happens at the early stages of design, when the Build Less principle should be the focus.
  • It is essential we consider how the environmental performance of a project can be improved from the ‘top down’.
  • The preferred route was the shortest, and therefore reduced the amount of carbon in the scheme.
  • Optimisations achievable at a later stages will be of a smaller consequence to the alignment decisions taken during the early stage.
  • Ensuring the design provides a positive user experience will also contribute to the sustainability of the project and to the modal shift of cycling and walking.

Project timeline 

  • Summer 2022: Public consultation
  • Autumn 2022: Planning application submitted

Have your say

The consultation is open from 19 July to 13 September and views can be given online and in-person. Please visit our Oxpens River Bridge Consultation page to take a short survey or come to the exhibition at OXPENS CAR PARK OFFICE on Tuesday 19 July from 3.45pm to 7.30pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why has the bridge been proposed?

The adopted Oxford Local Plan identifies development opportunities in the West End and Osney Mead, policy AOC 1, and seeks enhanced connectivity throughout the area and improved pedestrian and cycling experience.  The policy for Osney Mead, policy SP2, also seeks enhanced footpaths and a new bridge linking to the other side of the river. The proposed bridge is therefore part of proposals to enhance connectivity by walking and cycling in the area.

Does the bridge need planning permission?

The bridge does require planning permission and will be consulted upon in the normal way. To make a planning application, there needs to be detailed designs and supporting information. Neither of these are currently sufficiently advanced to enable a planning application to made, but the aim is to make an application later this year.

The ground investigations carried out in early 2022 did not need planning permission as they were temporary works. The information from the ground investigations will inform the bridge design. The contractor was required to make good any damage that occurred undertaking the works.

Existing Bridges

The Gasworks Pipe Bridge is being repaired under a separate project.

The use of the Gasworks Rail Bridge, as an alternative to a new bridge, has previously been explored. This option has not been taken forward as it would require; alteration of the bridge parapet and of the northern access, widening and reducing the gradient of the connecting path to accommodate cycling.

The path along the Castle Mill Stream has a limited width and, therefore, is not suitable to be designated for cycling and so a further route over the stream and through the Meadows would need to be created.

This would need to be raised to avoid flooding and the route is longer and less directly connects development at Osney Mead and Oxpens. So while this may seem an easy option, it would require considerable work.  

Impact on Grandpont Nature Park

The proposed bridge would connect to Grandpont and tie-in with the existing path network.  There would be some disturbance to the area during construction but this would be minimised as far as possible.

The project will need to deliver ecological enhancements for a net bio-diversity gain (Oxford Local Plan policy G2) and details of this will be developed alongside the bridge proposals. There are no plans for other building on the Grandpont Nature Park or to change its purpose.

Funding for the Bridge 

The funding for the new bridge has come from the Growth Deal Funding secured for Oxfordshire. The funding was secured to support the delivery of new housing. The County Council is the accountable body for the Growth Deal funding and entered into a funding agreement with the City Council for the bridge.  The City Council cannot use the funding for alternative projects, as this would breach the funding agreement with the County Council.